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U.S. enforces travel restrictions for North Korea, Venezuela

By Elizabeth Shim
U.S. enforces travel restrictions for North Korea, Venezuela
North Korean nationals face a U.S. travel ban, following a new presidential order announced Sunday. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA

Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The United States is to replace an existing travel ban with a new target list of countries that includes North Korea and Venezuela.

President Donald Trump made the announcement on Sunday, and a total of eight countries, including Chad, North Korea and Venezuela are on the list, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

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Of the six countries listed in the original ban that included Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Sudan, Sudan was dropped from the list, while Iraq nationals are to receive "additional scrutiny," according to The Journal.

"As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people," Trump said.

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The new travel ban, which includes North Korea and Venezuela, was created after the Trump administration evaluated the countries according to the "integrity of documents," cooperation with the United States on anti-terrorism efforts, and the national security risk each country presents to the United States.

Iraq did not meet the standards, according to Trump's order, but the Iraqi government's "close cooperative relationship" with the United States was cited as a reason to not include the country in the travel restriction order.

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Restrictions vary by country, with some countries on the list facing a total ban on U.S. entry, while others will be prohibited from immigrating while being allowed to travel for school.

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The restriction on incoming North Koreans comes less than a month after the United States decided to ban all non-essential U.S. travel to the Kim Jong Un regime that does not serve the "national interest."

Announcement of the ban came in July, following the death of U.S. college student Otto Warmbier.

Warmbier was released in June in a coma, and his father, Fred Warmbier, claimed his son may have been tortured while in detention.

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About 1,000 Americans traveled to North Korea annually before the incident.

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